Preview and Prediction: Stoke vs Manchester United

The New Year will explode into life with a full set of fixtures from the Premier League on New Year’s Day with Stoke City facing Manchester United in the early kickoff.

The Potters come into the game in the best form of their season, having only lost one of their last five in the league. They beat West Brom 2-0 on Sunday, following up an impressive 1-0 win at Everton and look confident.

Stoke’s home record: Played 9 – Won 4 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Though this will be another big test as Manchester United are also in fine form. The Red Devils have not lost a game since early November and have won seven of their last nine.

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However, their form away from home is not too convincing and the 0-0 draw at Spurs on Sunday was the second away draw in a row.

Manchester United’s away record: Played 9 – Won 2 – Drawn 5 – Lost 2

Mark Hughes watched his Stoke team beat his former club for the first time in 20 years in this fixture last season and that result should give the Potters confidence.

Louis Van Gaal has come through the hectic Christmas fixture list with a solid points return but is still without several first-team stars such as Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Marouane Fellaini and Angel Di Maria.

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The reverse fixture this season saw United win 2-1 in a close game at the start of December and this one should be even closer as both sides will want to start 2015 with a win.

Stoke have already beaten Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton this season and are always a threat in the big games.

Key Stat: Manchester United have won 13 of the last 15 meetings between the sides

Stoke’s last five: W/D/L/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/D/W/D

Key Player: Bojan – The Spanish midfielder has been a bright spark for Stoke of late and he will need to continue to impress if they are to get something out of this game.

Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United – A hard fought draw as both sides will want to start the New Year without defeat.


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